With plenty of headlines coming from Week 9 in the NFL we take a look at just who made themselves a Week 9 hero.
Two consecutive six touchdown games. That is an NFL record. Over the last two games Roethisberger has more touchdowns than (taken individually) Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Palmer have by themselves. Nobody not even Big Ben himself would have seen this coming.
I would say it is impossible that Roethisberger does this again but everyone thought the performance against the Colts was a one off. One thing is for sure though the Steeler's are now in prime position in the AFC North the rest of their schedule is set for them to run the table. Away trips to the Jets and Titans should be easy wins. Whilst road trips to New Orleans, Bengals and Falcons are hardly worrying either.
It would take unprecedented levels of self-destruction for Big Ben to not lead the Steelers to the playoffs.
The Rams defense and it's line was one of the most highly thought of units in the league at the start of the season. The front seven was already packed with talent before they added first round pick Aaron Donald in the draft.
Despite this talent though the Rams had struggled to scrap together a single sack this season. That is until Sunday when they sacked Colin Kaepernick eight times in a display of defensive dominance that led the Rams to a win at Levi Stadium.
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If the Rams can keep this up then they have thrown another crick into an already crazy NFC West.
New Orleans Saints
Given the chronic weakness of the NFC South the Saints bad start has now been effectively wiped out. The Saints' early struggles no longer matter. Losses to the Falcons, Browns and Lions and the fourth quarter capitulation in Detroit have effectively been erased. In terms of making the playoffs the Saints destiny is now in their own hands.
They will win the NFC South and make the postseason. They won't have home advantage though and that will likely be what costs them in the end.
A good coach makes teams more than its component parts. Andy has done this with the Chiefs by disguising their weaknesses with strengths in other areas. Before the season started the offensive line and the wide receiver positions were highlighted as glaring weaknesses. As it turns out they were weaknesses but Reid has found a way to coach around them.
The offensive line isn't great, especially in pass protection, but Alex Smith is one of the best QBs in the league in extending plays and playing 'backyard' football. Time after time the pocket breaks down and Smith manages to scramble for a gain of some kind.
In part because of the offensive line problems, and in part because of the lack of receivers, Alex Smith still hasn't thrown a passing TD to a wide receiver and he barely makes a throw of greater distance than 10 yards. Again though Reid has found a way to make things work. His team sits 5-3 and in the AFC West with a shot at a wildcard spot.
I have concerns about the Patriots being once again too dependent on Gronkowski but whilst he is fit you can't doubt the effectiveness of his partnership with Brady. In what was supposed to be a tight game between two great QB's Brady completely outplayed Peyton Manning throwing for for 333 yards and four TD's to lead his team to an easy victory.
Miami Dolphins Defense
A shutout in the modern NFL is rare thing. To do it against a strong San Diego Chargers offense led by the Rivers is even more impressive. The Dolphins intercepted Rivers three times and sacked him three times. A good day's work.
Five games, five high quality performances from Tannehill. On current form Tannehill is a top five QB. Against the Chargers he threw for 288 yards and added another 47 with his feet. It probably isn't going to be enough to challenge the Patriots for the AFC East title but a wildcard spot isn't totally out of the question.
67 yards from 21 attempts isn't a great stat-line but Lynch, and his two touchdowns, was the difference between the Seahawks winning or them suffering an embarrassing home defeat to the Oakland Raiders.
His first touchdown in particularly was something special. It may have only been a three yard rush but Lynch showed why you should always keep pumping your legs. The defender thought he had brought Lynch to a stop but Lynch kept his feet moving and fought his way for the touchdown. It was near perfect running back play.
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